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Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Co-Produced by:
James Newton Howard

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Orchestrated by:
Brad Dechter
Jeff Atmajian

Co-Produced by:
Jim Weidman

Walt Disney Records

Release Date:
May 5th, 2000

Also See:
The Ghost and the Darkness
Land Before Time
The Lion King
Treasure Planet

Audio Clips:
2. The Egg Travels (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (245K)
Real Audio (152K)

8. Across the Desert (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

9. Finding Water (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

16. Epilogue (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (245K)
Real Audio (152K)

Regular U.S. release. A blister pack version was also available.



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Buy it... if you regularly enjoy dynamic and entertaining animation scores that paint with as many vibrant colors as the films' visuals.

Avoid it... if you require more than an obvious rearrangement of styles and themes from Hans Zimmer's The Lion King and Jerry Goldsmith's The Ghost and the Darkness.

Dinosaur: (James Newton Howard) After an amazing run starting in 1989 with The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney Pictures ended its streak of dominance over animated musicals in 1999 with Tarzan. When the studio offered Dinosaur in 2000 without a single song in its ranks, a new era had begun. The studio eventually returned to the musical in subsequent years, but the waters were muddied for Disney by superior efforts by other studios. The story of Dinosaur is unimpressive, basically taking elements from both Tarzan and The Land Before Time and showing a mismatched group of dinosaurs forced on a journey to find a new home when a meteor destroys theirs. The animation caused a stir with its remarkable, life-like detail, largely obscuring the fact that the story was flimsy and predictable. Another element of intrigue involving Dinosaur resulted when James Newton Howard was hired to provide the score-only soundtrack for the film. He had relatively little experience in the genre and had made a name for himself with 1990's action and suspense films, along with a few ridiculous comedies along the way. Dinosaur marked the beginning of a fruitful three-film contract between Howard and Disney, lasting from 2000 through 2002 and following this debut with Atlantis and Treasure Island. Although the animated film scores ended there for the composer, you still hear snippets of all three scores consistently used years later in advertisements for the American Disney theme parks. The score for Dinosaur was received very well by both film and score critics at the time, heralded as a return to 1980's animation, when strong orchestral soundtracks absent obnoxious songs were a normal event.

Dinosaur also affirmed Howard's own arrival in the top tier of Hollywood composers, opening the doors for an outstanding level of success later in the 2000's. Still, it's difficult to remember now that Dinosaur was somewhat of an awkward listening experience at the time; of his contemporaries, only James Horner had really made a career out of this type of score-only animated venture. Howard's music is quite strong all around, balancing the tested formulas of other composers while instilling just enough of his own character into the work to keep the more derivative parts from becoming the score's defining aspect. The sizable Los Angeles orchestral ensemble is joined by Lebo M. and his associated chorus, a vibrant real and synthetic percussive array, and a slight presence of electronics. The style of Howard's approach is sometimes criticized for mirroring the vocal and rhythmic techniques of Hans Zimmer's The Lion King, while the action sequences (and typically those involving brass) and some additional ethnic material is obviously inspired by Jerry Goldsmith's The Ghost and the Darkness. Thematically, Howard uses a two-part "journey theme" as the anchor of the score while exploring several, sparsely developed ideas for characters and situations. The journey theme is easily the highlight of Dinosaur, serving the film extremely well during the flying scene seen during the cue "The Egg Travels." This theme also receives full treatment in "Across the Desert," "Breakout," and in reprise form in "Epilogue." While being the highlight of the score, this theme also draws the most fire for its resemblance to the two scores mentioned above.

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The first part of the journey theme presents ten seconds (starting at 1:13 into "The Egg Travels") that is shamelessly pulled from The Ghost and the Darkness. The rambling, Caribbean-style percussion and Lebo M. vocals made popular by The Lion King are also prominent. The more pronounced electronic and drum pad rhythm in "Across the Desert" recalls the hip style of Howard's concurrent Unbreakable. The same lovable rhythms grace "The Courtship," which definitely refer to Zimmer's more playfully harmonic parts of The Lion King. The "celebration theme" heard in the heart of this cue is reprised in full glory at the start of "It Comes with a Pool." Other highlights of the score include tender woodwind and string expressions of subthemes in "Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds" and "Aladar & Neera," both of which are gracefully accompanied by deep adult choir. The action music is surprisingly the least interesting part of Dinosaur, following templates very similar to previous material that Howard had written for other films. Dissonant strikes abound in these cues, and although they maintain interest, they cannot compete as a listening experience with the more fluid cues for character development and movement. Overall, Dinosaur offers no less than 20 minutes of highly entertaining material for rearrangement, but beware of possible temp track imitation or basic inspirational shortcomings at times. That said, all three of Howard's scores for Disney animation at the time are equally strong, and fans could arrange an outstanding compilation of the three that would likely fill a CD with the very best that Howard wrote for the studio. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For James Newton Howard reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.35 (in 56 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.34 (in 62,100 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 51:45

• 1. Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds (2:57)
• 2. The Egg Travels (2:43)
• 3. Aladar & Neera (3:28)
• 4. The Courtship (4:12)
• 5. The End of Our Island (4:00)
• 6. They're All Gone (2:08)
• 7. Raptors/Stand Together (5:37)
• 8. Across the Desert (2:24)
• 9. Finding Water (4:13)
• 10. The Cave (3:40)
• 11. The Carnotaur Attack (3:52)
• 12. Neera Rescues the Orphans (1:12)
• 13. Breakout (2:43)
• 14. It Comes with a Pool (3:01)
• 15. Kron & Aladar Fight (2:57)
• 16. Epilogue (2:32)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert contains extensive credits and a fold-out poster, but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Dinosaur are Copyright © 2000, Walt Disney Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/6/00 and last updated 6/22/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2000-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.